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Nyad's Epic Swim Across The Straits Is Now History

Nancy Klingener
Diana Nyad addresses fans at the Custom House in Key West.

Swimmer Diana Nyad calls Key West her "home away from home."

She trained here before each of her attempts to swim across the Florida Straits from Cuba — and it was Key West she reached in September 2013, on her fifth attempt.

Thousands of people greeted her on the beach that day. It was a smaller crowd that greeted her Friday on the steps of the Custom House Museum — but it was enthusiastic.

Credit Carol Tedesco / Key West Art & Historical Society
Key West Art & Historical Society
Diana Nyad was greeted by thousands of people in 2013 when she successfully swam from Cuba to Key West on her fifth attempt.

Nyad was in Key West for the opening of a new exhibit about her epic swim. She donated memorabilia, including the specially made mask she wore to keep jellyfish from stinging her face, her goggles and her swimsuit.

Nyad said Key West was the natural place for those items to find a permanent home.

"Where else?" she said. "This was the finish. This was the triumph. This was where we trained. It was all about getting here. I wasn't swimming to New York City. I wasn't swimming to Miami. I was swimming to Key West, Florida."

The exhibit will be on display until April, and then rotate on and off as part of the museum's permanent collection.

Since the swim, Nyad has written a book and created and performed a one-woman show about the swim, called Onward.

Her latest cause is getting people to walk more, with a project called EverWalk. She said she plans to lead a nine-mile walk in Key West on Saturday, starting from the same point at Smathers Beach where she came ashore in 2013.

And she said eventually she hopes to lead a walk from Key West to Miami.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
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